The Cincinnati Bengals have the potential to be either a really good team or a really bad team in the 2020 season. What decides their fate will ultimately be the production of a few key players and the continued development of the young coaching staff. I have compiled a list of 5 bold predictions that could define the upcoming season for the Bengals.
5. The Offensive Line is Not Bad:
This may be the boldest one here if you didn’t watch the latter half of the Bengals’ season last year. In the final two months of the 2019 season, the Bengals finally found some continuity on their offensive line. The results still weren’t great, but it was much better. Now with Jonah Williams, the 11th overall pick in the 2019 NFL Draft, coming back after missing all of his rookie year with an injury, this line may actually be good if they add another piece or two.
4. John Ross has a Breakout Year:
I know, it feels like Bengals fans say this every season, but hear me out. Ross started the 2019 season tremendously. Even when the Bengals were losing, he was putting up great numbers and was actually on his way to a 1,000-yard season. But then injury struck and he ended up missing half of the season.
The upcoming season will be a clean slate; there will be a new QB in town and everyone should be healthy. Ross thrives when the attention is focused away from him and he can be focused on taking the top off of the defense. Now that it appears he is ready for the NFL, he just needs to stay healthy and the 2020 season will be his year to shine.
3. The Bengals Defense Gets it Together:
This may be one of the harder ones to believe, and even as I’m writing this, it seems unlikely, but that doesn’t mean we can’t hope. The past few seasons have been downright dreadful for the Bengals defense. How does a historically bad defense that has finished at the bottom of the league for multiple years in a row suddenly get it together?
They get new players, and the Bengals did just that. They brought in D.J. Reader, Trae Waynes, Josh Bynes, and Mackensie Alexander, all of whom should have a large role in the upcoming season. Clearly, the mainstays of this defense weren’t getting it done, so a new lineup may be just what the doctor ordered.
2. A.J. Green Wins Comeback Player of the Year:
A.J. Green did not play a single snap after getting injured during the first 30 minutes of training camp last year. Green is the type of player who is always itching to be on the field and there’s no doubt that he will come back with a vengeance. It won’t be an easy feat for him to win the CPOY award, but when is it ever? If he is able to come back and put up at least 1,200 yards and reach double-digit touchdowns, he may be able to secure the award. Although, this may require my next bold prediction to come true…
1. Joe Burrow Exceeds Expectations:
Every first overall pick is expected to produce immediately and well, but it is usually a difficult task for a rookie quarterback to live up to those standards. Joe Burrow can obviously throw the ball well and command an offense to victory, but can he sustain it at the NFL level? All signs point to yes, but it is always unpredictable. Some say Burrow is the best quarterback prospect since Andrew Luck, and others say he compares well to Tom Brady.
Even if these comparisons are accurate, rookie quarterbacks almost always struggle. That’s what makes this bold, Burrow would have to come in and immediately produce at an elite level. Oh yeah, all of this assumes that the Bengals do indeed pick Burrow, which should be a lock, but you never know.